5 On Your Side

5 On Your Side warns against romance scams

Posted February 11, 2020 5:48 p.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2020 12:19 p.m. EST

— Looking for love online? Watch out.

The FBI says too many people are getting caught in romance scams, not realizing it until it's too late.

The scams are growing so fast, reports have more than doubled in the last five years. The FBI is now warning about the fraud.

In North Carolina alone, victims lost $6.5 million last year, an average of about $2,600 each.

Dating apps as well as websites and social media make it more commonplace, according to the FBI.

Most victims say they never thought they could get caught up in such a thing. They were convinced they met Mr. or Mrs. Right, with whom they messaged and talked.

But that perfect person just couldn't get away from their job, or a flight was canceled or something else happened to prevent meeting in person.

Then the person needs financial help, which is all part of the ploy that costs innocent people a lot of money and heartache.

"If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious," the FBI said.

Scammers are willing to invest lots of time in the con to get the payoff.

Don't let a family member be next.

The FBI advises people who meet others online to research photos and profiles to see if material had been used elsewhere. You should beware if someone tries to isolate you from your family and friends, the FBI says.

If you or a loved one has fallen victim, you can report it to the FBI.

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